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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  September 23, 2013 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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>> alec, rebecca tracer and josh bloom from "businessweek," thank you all. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show starts now." >> thank you, my friend. and thanks for joining us this hour. happy monday. because the republican party controls the house, one of the practical consequences of that is that on every committee in the house, there are more republicans than there are democrats. so, say on that house oversight committee, there are 17 democrats, but there are 23 republicans. there's more republicans than democrats. well, late last week, the chairman of that particular committee, the oversight committee, darrell issa, he tweeted some pictures from a hearing he had called for his committee on the issue of benghazi. darrell issa's one of the republicans who believes that the attack that killed four americans in benghazi two years ago was not a tragedy, not just a terrorist attack, but rather, it was some sort of democratic-controlled conspiracy that you get the sense they hope
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involves hillary clinton in a way that will make it hard for her to run for president. so, darrell issa, sitting in his chairman position at that hearing, he turned toward the democratic side of the room, the side of the room where the democrats sit, and he took this picture from his vantage point. and then he tweeted out that picture from his twitter account. and the caption, as you see here, says essentially, "democrats have excused themselves from the testimony of the benghazi heroes' family members." and that #pgnet, i'm assuming those are trying to highlight it for conservative media, pgnet there. look at outrage, right? he's saying, that not all the democratic seats are filled at this hearing. it is very, very important. dave weigel writing at slate.com tested darrell issa's outrage for accuracy and noted that, yes, while there were some empty chairs on the democratic side of the room for that committee hearing, there were also lots and lots of empty chairs on the republican side of the room for
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that committee hearing. of the 23 republicans on that committee, judging by all the empty chairs, it looks like 17 of the 23 were absent. which does not outrage darrell issa at all! because they're republicans who are absent. he's only outraged by the missing democrats. and you know, maybe it's just an honest mistake. maybe he has a stiff neck or something. how do you bother to turn the other way. he might have been outraged by all of the missing people over there. but he only turned. he was only outraged by the democrats missing, not the republicans. the benghazi attack happened in 2011. excuse me, happened about a year ago. but it was about four months ago, it was may of this year that republicans decided that they had a new partisan angle on it, that they were going to use darrell issa's committee and use the house to make the benghazi conspiracy the most important issue in the country. and that month, back in may, the new republican outrage over benghazi was one of three
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scandals that the obama administration was sort of having to deal with all at once. remember back in may it was scandal overdrive, right? you had headlines like this one from the "ap" -- "obama's second-term agenda waylaid by controversies." do you remember this period in the spring, right? the early summer? trio of controversies roiling washington, emboldening republicans, a establishment willing to second guess the white house. so, one of those was benghazi, which is still a tragedy and a terrible terrorist attack, but it has never really caught fire as a partisan scandal or as a democratic conspiracy in the way republicans really wanted it to. hence, you get darrell issa and his half the room photo desperation tactic where he is only excited about missing democrats and not at all excited about missing republicans. so, that was one of the three scandals. the second one was the irs, where it initially appeared like the irs was singling out tea party groups for special scrutiny on applications for
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tax-exempt status. that one ended up falling apart as well, as the initial hyperbolic inspector general's report gave way to a wider investigation, which turned up plenty of evidence that tea party groups were not, in fact, being singled out in the technical sense of the world singled, meaning they weren't the only ones getting treated that way. it was pretty much any group that had a mission or had affiliations that seemed overtly political or that was closely tied to electoral politics. and so, yes, it was tea party groups that got extra scrutiny, but it was also a bunch of liberal groups that got extra scrutiny, and actually, it was the liberal group that got denied tax-exempt status while none of the tea party groups ever did. so, that was the second one. that was another so-called scandal that was going to destroy the obama presidency, waylay his whole second-term agenda, right? that kind of turned out to be, just didn't really happen. the widely vilified irs official at the center of that nonscandal, a career official named lois lerner today sort of
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put the period on the long petering out of this scandal when she announced today that she is retiring from the agency. so, there was supposed to be three scandals, right? there was benghazi. that didn't work out the way the republicans wanted it to. irs, that did not work out the way republicans wanted it to. the third scandal that broke simultaneously, right? they're all happening, all bogging down the administration and dooming the obama second term starting in may of this year. the third one that broke at the same time was always a little harder for republicans to get partisan traction on, and it arguably was the only one that didn't seem like it was the product of an overtuned agro political narrative. it just seemed like something that the administration had actually done that they couldn't quite explain and that seemed out of keeping with not just precedent, but what they said they believed as an administration. it was the story about the justice department, right? the justice department, as the justice department related to a specific bomb plot, an al qaeda bomb plot in yemen last year that did not happen. really interesting thing about
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it was that after the bomb plot did not happen, bizarrely, the united states ended up with the bomb in our possession so we could study it. >> by all accounts, this is a remarkable success for the intelligence agencies of the united states and its allies. and here's why. they managed to insert a critical informant into the very heart of the terror group that's considered the number one threat to the united states, al qaeda's offshoot in yemen. administration and intelligence officials say by the time this most recent plot was in its final planning stages, the u.s. and its allies were able to follow it in detail. what the terrorists in yemen did not know at the time, these officials say, is that the person they chose to be the suicide bomber was actually an informant, someone who had agreed to cooperate with an allied intelligence service. members of congress declined to be specific but praised the cia and its overseas counterparts. >> this was incredibly good
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intelligence work. i mean, this is intelligence at its best. >> reporter: after the al qaeda operatives turned over the finished bomb, the informant then drove it safely out of yemen, where it was eventually turned over to the united states. >> just an incredibly dramatic story, right? the bomb plot is going to happen, the bomb plot gets foiled, the united states ends up getting the bomb once the plot is foiled and brings it here safely to the united states where it can be studied. so, that was may of last year. and while it is great news any time a bomb attack gets foiled, what was truly remarkable news was this conclusion that the united states must have infiltrated al qaeda in order to foil that particular bomb plot. and you know what? that is something that we were apparently never supposed to know. and while we, the public, may be impressed or even comforted to know that the u.s. and its allies have a mole deep inside al qaeda in yemen who is a trusted enough member of that organization to be tapped as a suicide bomber and then only at
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the last minute that person turns the device over and sends it to quantico and the bomb doesn't go off, while that may be very exciting to learn in a spy movie kind of way, it may be impressive that that has been done, but the fact that it was publicly disclosed obviously ends that very valuable intelligence situation for the united states forever. whatever happened to that person inside al qaeda in yemen who was thus outed as a western intelligence mole, i don't know what happened to them. i don't particularly want to imagine it, but you can bet they are not still in al qaeda. and so, the u.s. and western intelligence agencies no longer have that amazing asset of somebody in a trusted position inside al qaeda. and the justice department investigation into who leaked that detail, who leaked to the press that there was an informant inside al qaeda, that investigation, while obviously vital for intelligence reasons, for the fight against al qaeda, it also became a scandal, because the way the justice department decided to investigate that leak was by
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secretly and without notice obtaining the phone records for the main phone numbers for the "associated press" bureau in new york city and in washington, d.c., and in hartford, connecticut, and in congress at the house of representatives, the ap bureau there. additionally, the justice department got the phone records from the work phone numbers and the personal phone numbers for five different "ap" reporters and their editor. why it was important to investigate this leak is obvious once you understand what the leak is. wow that was never supposed to be made public, that absolutely screwed up a great intelligence asset that we had. why it needed to be investigated is understandable. but the way they went after the "associated press" with this essentially a blanket dragnet on all east coast news-gathering operations for the biggest newswire service in the united states? that was a scandal, in part because the justice department has guidelines for itself on how to deal with journalists and their sources turning up in criminal and counterterrorism investigations.
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and this, what they did in response to this leak just completely blew their own internal guidelines out of the water. the white house denied any knowledge of what the justice department had done. the justice department initiated a review of its own actions. the attorney general established yet new guidelines to further protect reporters from this kind of intrusion. but on the way, it turns out, apparently, they got what they wanted. they figured out who the leaker was. they figured out who leaked that detail, who leaked the story of the secret al qaeda informant to the press. and that news is the news that broke today. we learned today that the source of the leak of that highly classified information is a former fbi agent, a former bomb technician for the fbi named donald saktlaben. he's agreed to serve 45 years in prison now for the leaking charge. also, this news about him today, this news solving the mystery that sparked that unprecedented justice department spying on reporters, that news came with a
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bizarre and unsettling twist. the same man who has pled guilty to being the leaker, the ex-fbi agent who apparently outed to the press that the u.s. or western intelligence agencies had a mole inside al qaeda, this same guy was also, it turns out, the subject of a totally separate fbi investigation into distribution of child pornography. he pled guilty to the leak charge. he has also pled guilty to the child pornography charges. he will serve a total of 140 months in prison for the leaking charge and the child porn charges combined. this is a very, very strange story and a very weird end to that trio of supposed scandals. joining us now is nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. pete, thank you for being here. >> sure. >> do we have any indication of a motive or a goal in why this information was leaked? >> no, i think it was the reason that a lot of people pass along information. they want to tell reporters about things that they know. the court documents say that the
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reporters from the "ap" had actually struck up something of an e-mail relationship with this fbi agent three years before, and working on some other unrelated stories. in april of last year, another news organization just sort of coincidentally did a story about how al qaeda was planning to hide bombs inside people's bodies. now, the bomb that this whole plot is about, that you've talked about, did not involve that kind of device, but the "ap" reporter saw that and sent an e-mail to the agent and said, hey, what's up with that? and then according to the court documents, a couple of days later, the agent goes to quantico where the bomb was sent at the fbi bomb lab there, and according to the court documents, he called the "ap" reporter and told him a few things about it. the "ap" starts asking questions and five days later, the story appears. >> in terms of cracking this case and following that trail that you just laid out, how
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important were those controversial, secret subpoenas by the justice department of "ap" calling records in terms of figuring out who this guy was? >> well, the justice department says they were essential, that they were getting nowhere, that they got these phone records and they began to line up who knew about the bomb with who the "ap" was calling, and that's what broke the case. they said they interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people, didn't get anywhere, and they claim that the case wasn't broken until they got the "ap's" phone records, that that was the key to the whole thing. strangely enough, as you noted, this guy was already under investigation by the fbi for completely separate reasons. the fbi and many law enforcement organizations to try to combat child pornography has people who normally look at known sites where pedophiles trade pornographic images, and they say that he popped up on that site and they began to search
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his -- they got search warrants, searched his house, took a lot of his computers, his phone and other material, storage media. then, when they figure out he shows up on the "ap" call records and they do some other searches, they figure out, hey, we've already got his computer, let's look in there some more. they get another search warrant and they say that further developed the case. >> that seems impossible. i mean, i really -- i mean, logically, it makes sense, but it seems impossible that these are totally unrelated investigations that they had the computer anyway, and then presumably had to get a new level of permission to go back and look for something that would be part of a totally separate investigation. they maintain that these things had nothing to do with each other? >> well, and the child pornography case was well along, even before they were starting to figure out that he was the leaker. and what the justice department basically says here, if they hadn't gotten the phone records, he would simply have been prosecuted for the child pornography case and that would have been that. now, an interesting thing here, you had some graphics and you read these numbers, but i think
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it's worth looking at these again. so, the sentence, or -- now, remember, he hasn't plead ad guilty. he's agreed to plead guilty, so he hasn't been sentenced yet. a judge has to agree to this, but he has agreed to serve for the leak 3 years and 7 months. if that's the sentence, by the way, that would be the longest sentence ever for a leak. the child pornography case is 8 years, 1 month. and the justice department wants these served one after the other, so it'd be a total sentence of 11 years, 8 months. but that's just interesting. it tells you a lot about the severity in the law of leaking information that the u.s. has damaged national security. >> pete on that issue of it being the most severe sentence ever for the leak, if the judge agrees to this 3 years and 7 months on that part of what he's charged with, do you have reason to believe, or i guess should we infer that the severity of that sentence has something to do with his intention or the level of his known recklessness in
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letting this information out? i mean, why would you get a more severe sentence for this kind of leak than previous leaks? >> well, it just says, number one, that this is so seldom prosecuted, successfully prosecuted, anyway, where they actually get a conviction. and number two, the statute just doesn't call for that severe a sentence. so, that's -- but in terms of the knowing part, i mean, that's a key part of the law, that you can't be convicted of something unless you knowingly did it. and here, the government says, you know, he had all these top-secret security clearances, he knew he wasn't supposed to release this stuff and he did anyway. so, they've got him dead to rights there, and of course, he has confessed. in essence. he's agreed to plead. he says in a statement through his lawyer that he never intended to do any harm to the national security and he's greatly regrets this. >> nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. this is fascinating and totally unforeseen end to this. thanks, pete. thanks for helping us figure it out. >> okay.
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>> thanks. all right, the terrorist attack on a mall in nairobi, kenya, this past weekend and continuing today is apparently over as of tonight, maybe. it's fuzzy at this point. but who did it and why they did it and what the world's response is likely to be is part of what's coming up. stay with us. as a working mom of two young boys life could be hectic. angie's list saves me a lot of time. after reading all the reviews i know i'm making the right choice. online or on the phone, we help you hire right the first time. with honest reviews on over 720 local services. keeping up with these two is more than a full time job, and i don't have time for unreliable companies. angie's list definitely saves me time and money. for over 18 years we've helped people take care of the things that matter most. join today.
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he, of course, was killed in the u.s. drone strike two years ago in yemen. the second is adam gudon, who's always been a built of a sad sack, i thought. raised on a goat farm in california. he decided the future of the world was death metal, became an obsessive death metal fan, started his own adam on the goat farm death metal band. eventually, he left that behind and found his way to islamic fundamentalist extremism and al qaeda. as an on again-off again al qaeda spokesperson and propagandist, he was indicted for treason and material support of terrorism, and now the u.s. government says it will pay a $1 million reward for information leading to him. so, awlaki is dead, adam the goat farm kid is in the wind with a $1 million price on his head. the only other american who has become arguably famous, arguably well known as an al qaeda guy is this one from alabama, omar hamami. he's from daphne, alabama, originally. he was a pretty successful student, a popular kid growing up, president of his sophomore
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class in high school, but he became radicalized, eventually moved to somalia in 2006. by 2007, he was starring in cheesy recruitment videos, including ridiculous rapping recruitment videos with him rapping songs like "make jihad with me" and "send me a cruise missile." the u.s. government ultimately also put a price on his head, $5 million for information leading to his capture or conviction, $5 million! but it looks like that money will not be claimed, because his fellow militants in the al qaeda-linked group that he was part of in somalia now say that they killed him. his own side took him out a couple of weeks ago. this is the same group, al shabaab, that says it is responsible for the brazen commando-style attack on a mall in nairobi, kenya, this weekend. the attack started on saturday and is only now apparently, maybe, starting to come to an end. al shabaab is not based in kenya where the attack happened. they are based next door in neighboring somalia, but their
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attack on kenyan interests is not the first, and it is thought to be the group's revenge for kenyan soldiers taking part in operations in somalia against the islamic radicals there. for a variety of reasons, al shabaab has been losing ground in its home base in somalia, but it's also been increasing its international profile, in part using dramatic attacks like what we have seen unfold in the bloody images from this upscale urban mall in nairobi, but also with some pretty brazen efforts at international recruitment. and yeah, omar hamami from alabama may have fallen afoul by al shabaab and in fact may have been killed by him, but he's not the only one they've got. this is local news video from minneapolis, the local fox station reporting on the worried local reaction to an al shabaab video published last month praising three local boys from the twin cities, from minneapolis and st. paul, who made their way to somalia to al shabaab and who died there in various suicide attacks.
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this video targets the twin cities here specifically for their large somali-american population, telling young somali american men to make their way to somalia to join al shabaab, and of course, to kill themselves in glory. in the early hours of the nairobi assault in the mall there, the group al shabaab bragged on twitter that the attackers at the mall included three americans and also a canadian and also someone from finland as well as somebody from the uk. should this be seen as a truly transnational group? does the nairobi attack indicate a new level of operational ability we didn't know this group had? and what is the response to this attack likely to be in joining us is nbc news terrorist analyst evan kohlmann, senior partner at flashpoint global partners. evan, thanks for being here. >> thank you very much. >> first of all, can you shed any light for us on whether or not this attack at the nairobi mall is, in fact, over? >> you know, we're still not clear. there have been tweets that were coming out from a purported
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shabaab account as early as today. so we're not sure to the degree with which they were still in contact with the individuals there, was this even really the voice of shabaab, and the kenyan government, how reliable are they in terms of saying it's over when they've said it's over, it's over, it's over and it's over and it's still not over, so -- >> we've seen kenyan forces moving in for about 20 hours. in terms of the abilities of al shabaab, obviously, they have been a high-profile group, not only because i think americans keep an eye on somalia because of what happened there in the '90s and black hawk down and all those things, not only because of the large somali american population in this country, but also because of this big and sometimes cheesy international recruiting effort that they've waged in this very visible way. how operationally capable are they? >> look, they're not the most sophisticated group of people. these are not guys that are out to develop the next atom bomb. these are guys that are looking for very simple techniques, suicide bombings, assassinations, roadside bombings, and they're looking to achieve them in the most
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dramatic ways possible. the last major attack that al shabaab carried out beyond its own borders was in uganda. they carried out suicide bombings targeting world cup soccer celebrations taking place there. now, was this a terribly sophisticated operation? not really. the reason it was successful was because i don't think anyone is able to protect a random bar in ugrand from a suicide bomber stepping in there with a bomb strapped to him. and unfortunately, despite the fact that it didn't require a genius to come up with this plan, they got a tremendous amount of publicity about it. and certainly, that's one of their goals with what's going on in nairobi. >> well, if there are effectively low-tech, high-impact, soft-target oriented, then it seems like the thing you have to worry about them is how many of there are and what their ambitions are. >> right. >> have these high-profile recruiting efforts been effective? are they big? >> look, it's effective to a point. if you look at, say, al qaeda
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recruitment in the united states, and you compare the number of americans who have tried joining al qaeda actually going there versus the number of people who have actually gone to somalia, the numbers are pretty striking. i mean, shabaab appears to have much more success, particularly in certain communities, and i think this goes to the heart of it. al qaeda is a genuinely transnational organization with a genuinely transnational ideology, right? shabaab is really not. shabaab is an organization that considers itself to be part of this global jihadi phenomenon, but in charge of their fiefdom in somalia. they are most interested in that, and their agenda mostly has to do with fighting the occupation forces of neighboring countries that have gone in there and tried to stabilize there -- kenya, burundi, rwanda, uganda. these are the countries they're most interested in targeting. however, they love to target the united states in their propaganda, and they love to talk about how they're also going to send out their cells
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from the horn of africa to attack the united states in its own home. the question always has been how much of this is fluff? how much of is this is just big talk because these guys like to talk a lot. and how much of this are they really going to put their money where their mouth is? because look, they have recruited americans. they've recruited americans in a variety of u.s. cities. they've recruited not just somalis but others, people like omar hamami or jihad mustafa from san diego, people who have no connection to the somali community, and yet, have been drawn and have become major players in there. and i think the question is, are those people then capable of coming back here or recruiting people here to do something? that's what we're really worried about. and we don't really know what the answer to that question is. >> if they have created an attractant anant and the barri entry are low, if they can with, even if it's just with talk, make you want to be part of them and they make it easy to become part of them, then you've got a cycle that's hard to interrupt.
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>> yes. >> evan kohlmann, terrorist analyst and senior partner at flashpoint global partners, thank you very much. good to have you here. to treat my low testosterone, my doctor and i went with axiron, the only underarm low t treatment. axiron can restore t levels to normal in about 2 weeks in most men. axiron is not for use in women or anyone younger than 18 or men with prostate or breast cancer. women, especially those who are or who may become pregnant and children should avoid contact where axiron is applied as unexpected signs of puberty in children or changes in body hair or increased acne in women may occur. report these symptoms to your doctor. tell your doctor about all medical conditions and medications. serious side effects could include increased risk of prostate cancer; worsening prostate symptoms; decreased sperm count; ankle, feet or body swelling; enlarged or painful breasts; problems breathing while sleeping; and blood clots in the legs. common side effects include skin redness or irritation where applied, increased red blood cell count, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, and increase in psa. ask your doctor about the only underarm low t treatment,
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sometimes watching members of one political party call each other names and snipe at each other and assault each other's mothers, sometimes when that happens, it is highly entertaining. honey, milk duds, popcorn, they're at it again. but at what point does the fighting in the republican party start to feel less like pro wrestling designed fighting to
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be entertaining and more like a hockey fight that is spilling into the stands or maybe a nascar wreck, where the car parts and the tires are being sprayed everywhere? it is less entertaining when there is a good chance of people getting hurt. as the republicans in congress continue to scream at each other and trash each other in the press, are we getting close to the point where this ought to be worrying now instead of just fun? that's next for somebody who knows. man: sometimes it's like we're still in college. but with a mortgage. and the furniture's a lot nicer. and suddenly, the most important person in my life is someone i haven't even met yet. who matters most to you says the most about you. at massmutual we're owned by our policyowners, and they matter most to us. as you plan your next step, we'll help you get there.
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a writer and a performer. ther, i'm also a survivor of ovarian and uterine cancers. i even wrote a play about that. my symptoms were a pain in my abdomen and periods that were heavier and longer than usual for me. if you have symptoms that last two weeks or longer, be brave, go to the doctor. ovarian and uterine cancers are gynecologic cancers. symptoms are not the same for everyone. i got sick... and then i got better.
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this has been one of the strangees weeks i've ever had in washington, and i say that because as soon as we listed ted cruz as our featured guest this week, i got unsolicited research and questions, not from democrats but from top republicans to hammer cruz. why are republicans so angry at ted cruz? >> well, because this was a strategy laid out by mike lee and ted cruz without any consultation with their colleagues. mike lee of utah lays it out on july 9th without having ever brought it up at the thursday meeting of the senators to say we've got an idea. i would suspect today, with all due respect to my junior senator from texas, i suspect this is
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the first time that the end game was described to any republican senator. they had to tune in to listen to you to find out what ted's next step was in the strategy. >> does this happen with democratic senators? when democratic senators get booked on sunday morning news shows, do other top democrats in washington send unsolicited research and questions to the host of that tv show to advise the show on how to destroy their fellow democrat? i'm sure it has happened among democrats at some point, but not any time in recent memory. why is it happening now among republicans? the republican party is embarking on another shut down the government venture with the promise that they may also make the country default on its national debt as well, and this is not the first time they've done this. since losing the white house back in 2008. but it is the first time doing it while also publicly tearing each other apart like they're a bag of blindfolded hungry weasels who someone dosed with
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pcp. why is that? the party's unsuccessful candidate for vice president in 2008 is demanding today that chris wallace of "fox news sunday" reveal his sources! these republicans who told him to hammer ted cruz! senator ted cruz, of course, wants to be a republican hero for mounting a filibuster in the senate, but the bill he wants to filibuster is one that was just passed by the one body that the republicans do control in washington. the leadership of his own party in the senate says they will not support a filibuster, but the base of the party, the fund-raising marks, if you will, they've been getting fired up for months now, sending their checks, hitting the big donate button on the website, sending their automated fax messages to congress for just $9.95 plus shipping and handling. they have had their fire stoked for months now that you are only a real republican, you are only a real conservative if you are willing to go all the way, to burn washington down unless you get your way. so, the immediate question is, how does this end, right? does the government get shut
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down? is the credit rating of the country at risk forever because of whatever this fight is among republicans? that's the immediate question. the bigger question is, why is this happening right now and with such ferocity? i mean, democracy are essentially not involved in this at all. this is all happening among republicans. is the country, the whole economy, the whole government at risk of becoming collateral damage here for a proxy fight that really is just republicans trying to finally decide among themselves who their leader is, who calls the shots in their party? is this a war that is about what it means to be a republican in the post george bush, post john mccain, post mitt romney era? and if so, what are the rest of us supposed to do to limit the collateral damage to the rest of us while they sort this out among themselves? joining us now is my friend, nicolle wallace, former communications director for george w. bush, former senior adviser for the mccain/palin campaign. nicole, thank you for being here. >> well, i wish it were under better circumstances for my
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party. >> it never is. >> it never is. >> i never want to talk about that stuff, you notice? hey, things are going great! >> we weren't here when obama was sucking wind on syria, but -- >> hey, you have to admit, syria came out in a way that is better than either the war or it was before the -- >> republican senator corker said it's hard to deny that obama didn't land on some solid ground, but i think that what we would be talking about this week, if republicans weren't acting like they are acting, is whether this week we're going to see in any of the body language with iran any tangible signs of our credibility on the issue of a nuclearized iran having ben weakened. that's what we would have -- >> our credibility being weakened? >> well, we had the red line in syria. it ended up not being quite a serious red line. we have a red line now -- i think that on the right and the left, we would be talking about and we would be asking the question, the question might have been or incredibly hasn't been damaged, but i think the
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conversation we would be having this week would be america in the world post the syria debate. >> yes. >> but we are not talking about that. >> because instead, these guys. >> these guys. so, i think that the damage to the republican party is on many levels. it's off-leading, because i think, as i said just watching your show, events and news can overtake any story. so, this will go away. this will go away, i hope. but what this has replaced was a series of stories, a series of events that had i think brought about legitimate questions about president obama's leadership. >> and that's about news cycle to news cycle momentum, and i hear you on that and i think that's right, but i think there is this broader issue of what this fight is really about, because you know what -- >> absolutely. >> they hated obama care for a long time, enjoyed threatening to shut down the government and defaulting on the country's debt now, but we are having it in this agro funded over the top
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extended way that's getting worse with each passing day. is it proxy control for the party or is there something going on that this is stuck? >> well, everything can be drawn to the movie "the american president" in some aaron sorkin fantasy where michael j. fox walks in and says mr. president, people are so hungry for leadership, they'll crawl through the sand and when they realize it's a mirage, they will eat the sand. ted cruz would have republican activists eating sand because what he sold them was a mirage. there is no possible way in the words of charles krod hammer, of having this happen. obama is not going to sign a law that defunds his signature domestic achievement. >> then why did ted cruz sell it? >> ted cruz i think is far less interesting than anybody else thinks he is. he's just a guy who is in the senate and wants everyone to talk about him. i mean, he's not -- >> the opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference, and you are indifferent to him. you are bored by him. >> i am bored by him.
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i mean, there is a really serious philosophical fight over policy on the right, and it's going to play out in the campaign, but it's not -- ted cruz isn't going to be holding up any flag on either side. it's going to be rand paul running as sort of a libertarian republican who on national security issues favors far more isolated america. i mean, you've paid a lot of attention to rand paul, because i think unlike some republicans, you realize that he really is going to be a viable choice in the republican primary. >> he is a policy choice, whether or not personally he's the best. >> and i'm more with a mccain or a christie. i believe in more of an activist foreign policy, an interventionalist foreign policy and there are strange alliances going on in both these wings. and this is a really big policy fight that's going to happen in the republican party. the fight we're having now is a big water balloon fight. it's no more serious than that, although it's going to do some serious harm over a tactic,
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because the republican party actually stands with a whole lot of independent americans in its dislike or disapproval of obama care. but this fight about tactics has totally crowded out what was a legitimate disapproval of a policy that even the white house seems to be struggling with. >> i don't think it's about tactics, though. i think it's about -- it's not purity, it's about extremism, i guess. it's about whether or not extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, right? whether or not this is actually -- whether your threat to shut down the government to do real harm to the country is something that is noble or whether that is something that is not noble and -- >> so, it's a fight about nobility, but not even political purity or policy purity, because you've got some of the most conservative members in both -- you've got paul ryan, charles krad hammer, todd coburn all on the side of not doing the cruz proposal, which was -- i don't even really from an intricate -- >> a shutdown proposal, which the house republicans just voted for. >> right but now in the senate,
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there's actually no way for him to do anything. i mean, some of the house republicans, like congressman tim griffin last week who was a former colleague of mine and really does sort of tell it like it is, but out a tweet saying, you know, what are you going to do? stop talking, do something. >> right. >> and the truth is, ted cruz has spent a lot of time talking to the media. his strategy is sort of to enjoy being vilified by the left to go on the media in the right and say i'm a victim of the mainstream media. he sort of sees the palin victim mantle in the media and he's run with it and has done it successfully, and i give him credit for that, but his ideas and tactics for the republican party are losers, and i hope we move past them quickly and get back to a policy opposition to this giant health care law where we do stand with all republicans and some independents in this country and bigger and more important conversations, like america's role in the world. >> i hear you on this and i know why ted cruz has to be boxed out. i will just point out that every republican in the house except for two voted with crazy ted cruz to do this.
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>> no, he's not crazy. you know, crazy like a fox. >> but the whole republican party's with him, so trying to box him out is not going to work unless they start voting against him. nicolle wallace, former bush senior adviser and former adviser with the mccain/palin -- >> and sushi connoisseur. think on that. >> we'll be fighting that out in the break. we'll be right back. (vo) you . maestro of project management. baron of the build-out. you need a permit... to be this awesome. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle... and go. you can even take a full-size or above, and still pay the mid-size price. (aaron) purrrfect. (vo) meee-ow, business pro. meee-ow. go national. go like a pro. nascar is ab.out excitement but tracking all the action and hearing everything from our marketing partners, the media and millions of fans on social media
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>> october 12, 2002, bombs ripped through a pair of nightclubs in indonesia. the clubs were packed with people on vacation out for a drink, out dancing. 202 people died in that terrorist attack. most of the westerners including seven americans. march 11, 2004, in spain bombs hit four commuter trains. 191 people, ordinary commuters are killed. july 7, 2005, in the uk, terrorists bomb three subway stations on a bus in london that killed 52 civilians. terrorists descend on mumbai. over the course of three days, they kill 164 people. july 11, 2010 in uganda, suicide
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bombers blow themselves up in a crowd gathered to watch the world cup. al-shabab claimed responsibility. and then this saturday, terrorists strike again this time from kenya. they open fire reportedly with military grade rifles before barricading themselves on an upper floor with many hostages. security forces say they have regained control of the mall. they say at least 62 civilians died. members of al-shabab. conflict in this young bloody 21st century of ours is still sometimes about militaries fighting militaries. and that is still the way we measure the martial strength of nations. our army versus their army. missiles versus missiles, tanks
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versus tanks. but more frequently when the attacks are on nightclubs and malls and trains and office buildings, there is no second army in the fight. it is the use of military grade force against people. it's mass casualty strikes against civilian targets as a way of trying to get nations to change their behavior through terrorizing the civilian population. that threat attacking countries and civilians simply because they are citizens. that is the international challenge that has chased the world from 911 to madrid to london to mumbai to uganda and now nairobi and dozens of others in between. nation versus nation fights are starting to seem down right quaint and solvable compared to nations versus amorphous
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non-state actors. the united states and russia were enemies at the level of economic book villains. we still spy on each other but right now us and russia are together brokering a deal to get rid of syria's chemical weapons. with iran, supposedly our most intractable national conflict. who knows. he might sit down and have a chat if they happen to run into each other. he has signalled new moderation and even a ray of sunshine. but it does not seem impossible. it seems like a matter of timing. will it be this decade or the next decade? when will it happen. the threads are rising from
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rivalries between countries. peal in comparison of two countries. suicide bombers attacked a church killing 78 people. 78 dead in a single attack. in southern afghanistan, the taliban ambushed a border check post that killed 11 police officers in the latest of a deadly series of massacres. a suicide car bomb and a double suicide bombing both at funerals in iraq take more than 100 lives in a single weekend. the news of these attacks getting all but lost amid the carnage unfolding in that nairobi shopping mall. whatever is going on between us and iran, between us and north korea, between any one country and any country sometimes seems down right solvable, resolvable at least.
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>> the u.n. general assembly, with all the heavies there. the new iranian president. it is possible that they will shake hands that might not sound like much. >> right now the u.n. is not just a place for showmanship and stunts. right now the u.n. is at the center of our world trying to work things out without going to war. many are writing to the american president in hope of a fresh start at talking out our problems. the nations of the world have enough trouble with terrorists right now far and wide.
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as they meet here to talk about their relations as nations, the u.n. seems vital. diplomacy seems vital and impossible. sometimes it seems like the world's best idea overall. tomorrow is a big, big day. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. have a great night. there is finally bipartisan consensus in washington on exactly one thing. ted cruz. >> here we go again. >> what are the odds there is a government shut down. >> a government shut down is over a week away. >> no american wants a government shut down. >> we're not about to shut the government down. nobody can explain how it can. >> there should be no

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